What can I do if I slipped and fell in the produce department of a grocery store?

I was in such shock afterward I didn’t get the witness information. After getting up I noticed the floor was very dirty and that I slipped on what appeared to be a grape. they proceeded to sweep and wipe up the area. I didn’t get any pictures but the produce clerk and store manager and told me they got everything on tape. I didn’t pursue any medical treatment although I am starting to feel very sore. It happened today. Do I have a cause for a lawsuit?

Asked on August 11, 2014 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The store would only be liable, or responsible, if one of the following occured (and you could prove it in court): 1) they knew (someone told them) about the slippery patch; 2) a store employee spilled the grape and created the hazard; 3) it was slippery so long that any reasonable store would have spotted and cleaned it up. On the other hand, if the grape had fallen just shortly before you slipped, dropped down or knocked down by another customer, and no one had asked the store to clean it up, they probaby would not be liable--they would not have done anything wrong.

Even if they are liable, you cannot get compensation for being "sore." You can receive compensation for: i) actual out-of-pocket medical costs; ii) lost wages, if you missed work due to the injury; iii) pain and suffering for serious injuries causing significant disability, impairment, or disfigurement which lasts more than a few weeks. That is because the compensation you can get is related to your costs and the severity of your injury. Without large medical bills or a serious injury, you could easily spend more on a lawsuit than you would get back. (You have to pay your own court and legal costs--the other side doesn't pay them.)


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